Thursday, October 30, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
One very cool grandchile! (Just thought I would throw this one in for fun.)
One very cool deacon!
One very cool bishop going!
The same very cool bishop coming in!
Lots of very cool banners made at convention!
Saturday, October 25, 2008
There were several cononical/constitutional amendments. One was to adjust assessments to real time income That made sense to everybody. There were a couple that allowed for laity to hold positions originally reserved for clergy. One was to allow Standing Committee to meet electronically. Two allowed parishes to incorporate. Two caused hackles to rise. The first eliminated a clause in the canons that said clergy could only have sex in Holy Matrimony. Immediately the librals were out to get the rules loosened for gay people. This finally passed overwhelmingly. The second was similar. It called for the creation of an equality commission to investigate and report the issues surrounding marginalized persons in this diocese. It spelled out those that have been marginalized including poor, LGBT, ethnic minorities, the handicapped, and other socio-economically disadvantaged. Wow! Would have never happened 2 or 3 years ago. It passed with flying colors! What a great day!
Tonight, chili and apple treats.
Ya'll come back ya hear!
Friday, October 24, 2008
Hey, Bishop Jerry was out and about and meeting and greeting and talking with everyone. THAT is a really big change!
Tomorrow is another day and more new and renewal. Wait until you all get a glimpse of some of the resolutions. Wowsers!
BTW: I am posting via a Blackberry Curve. If you saw my fingers and this keyboard you would have pity.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Let's see: We have the Diocese of San Joaquin and the Diocese of Pittsburgh. We have parishes in the Diocese of Los Angeles and the the Diocese of San Diego. We have parishes in the Diocese of Rio Grande and pending we have the Diocese of Fort Worth and the Diocese of Quincy and maybe the Diocese of Louisiana. Then of course we have more alphabet soup than one can easily maneuver and one really hot ex bishop that thinks he is God's gift to the Anglican communion (literally).
We have lawsuits in more counties and states than one can possibly imagine and it looks like it is only going to get more expensive. We are going to fight tooth and nail over inch and mile of the entire country. Are we tired of this? NO! Is it going to get better? NO! Do we wish to continue in this ever spiraling circle of depression and disaster? NO!
So, given all of that how about a solution? What do you say we try to get in front of this power curve before we are so caught up in this incredibly stupid schism that we are doing nothing but suing, being sued, chasing Bob Duncan all over hades, telling Greg Venables to get a life and Peter Akinola to retire. How about a proactive solution that goes something like this.
1, We state what and who we (TEC) are and reiterate what we are all about. Clearly, definitively and without reservation. We ask each and every person at general convention to get on board.
2, we set yup a special,national, ad hoc, committee designed to deal with those parishes and dioceses that will not conform. This committee will be the clearinghouse for all schismatic fools that seem to think that there is something to be gained by stirring up s**t inside the TEC. This group can streamline the process for separating the fools (lay and clergy alike) from TEC. This group would be empowered by the General convention to claim property and help clergy and lay persons who no longer wanted to be affiliated with TEC. This group would also be empowered by General Convention to assist any persons, lay or clergy, who were "trapped" inside a diocese or parish that was schismatic.
3, Our presiding Bishop, along with the Presiding Bishop of Canada would prepare a document that would be sent to the Archbishop of Canterbury that would remove any transgressors from the Anglican communion immediately upon separation from our respective provinces. That in keeping with existing formularies the Archbishop of Canterbury would go on record as also not recognizing those persons removed from TEC or the CoC.
4, There would be another group authorized by General convention to travel into all the diocese to hear and respond to complaints of all sorts. That this group would be a reconciliation group made up of all types willing to work within the TEC to make our church stronger.
It is time to get on with the business we began almost 220 years ago. In fact it is time to get on with the business established over 2008 years ago. An old saying "Lead, follow or get out of the way."
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Highway 61 Revisited
Oh God said to Abraham, "Kill me a son"
Abe says, "Man, you must be puttin' me on"
God say, "No." Abe say, "What?"
God say, "You can do what you want Abe, but
The next time you see me comin' you better run"
Well Abe says, "Where do you want this killin' done?"
God says, "Out on Highway 61."
Well Georgia Sam he had a bloody nose
Welfare Department they wouldn't give him no clothes
He asked poor Howard where can I go
Howard said there's only one place I know
Sam said tell me quick man I got to run
Ol' Howard just pointed with his gun
And said that way down on Highway 61.
Well Mack the Finger said to Louie the King
I got forty red white and blue shoe strings
And a thousand telephones that don't ring
Do you know where I can get rid of these things
And Louie the King said let me think for a minute son
And he said yes I think it can be easily done
Just take everything down to Highway 61.
Now the fifth daughter on the twelfth night
Told the first father that things weren't right
My complexion she said is much too white
He said come here and step into the light he says hmm you're right
Let me tell the second mother this has been done
But the second mother was with the seventh son
And they were both out on Highway 61.
Now the rovin' gambler he was very bored
He was tryin' to create a next world war
He found a promoter who nearly fell off the floor
He said I never engaged in this kind of thing before
But yes I think it can be very easily done
We'll just put some bleachers out in the sun
And have it on Highway 61.
Copyright ©1965; renewed 1993 Special Rider Music
Before too much is made of this in the context of a second North American province, all should remember that Cantuar had a private meeting with Bishop Gene Robinson on November 3, 2005. The statement from Lambeth Palace at that time was "...The encounter came as part of the Archbishop's commitment to listening to the voices of all concerned in the current challenges facing the Anglican Communion."
Let's all remember what happens when people make assumptions.
Sunday, October 19, 2008
The congregation of Christ Church, Alexandria, approved a resolution by their vestry quit-claiming any trustee relationship for portions of The Falls Church property to the Diocese of Virginia and its Bishop.
I am breaking my personal rule about blogging on church business, but it seemed best to scoop any rumors that are sure to come along.
1. There was full discussion on this matter.
2. The vote was overwhelmingly in favor of the resolution. I counted the "nay" votes and will not announce the number, as I am not an officer of Christ Church. But I will note this: it wasn't difficult to do the count.
3. There are no other parcels of land involved in this resolution, period; this was clear in the original resolution circulated in blog-land, and will be clear in the final version as well. The historic trustee relationship in question is approximately two acres of land, which includes the Colonial-era chapel of The Falls Church.
I am an active communicant of Christ Church, Alexandria. I was at the congregational meeting that commenced today at approximately 10:15 a.m. I was eligible to vote in this matter, and I did.
Now, let the games of speculation, conjecture and rumors begin. Any report that conflicts with what I have written here is inaccurate and at least one layer removed from an actual attendee of the meeting.
It's a crisp, beautiful day here in Alexandria, Virginia. As I look out my window, I see we had enough rain this summer to enjoy a real display of mid-Atlantic fall foliage this year. It will be gorgeous very soon!
Saturday, October 18, 2008
I know some of you read through the fundamentalist blogs, and have read about the new twist in the Fairfax County court case that involves The Falls Church, Truro Church, and several other CANA churches (mostly plants of the two large churches). Here's a brief backgrounder on how Christ Church fits into the larger picture of the Diocese of Virginia.
Prior to the Revolutionary War, the Church of England was the state-sponsored religion in Virginia, one of the original thirteen colonies. The colony was divided into parishes that included three or four chapels and a church farm, known as a glebe. The residents of the area supported their local parish through taxes; even those who worshiped in other traditions were required to pay the tax, making it rather unpopular. Income from the glebe farms contributed to the living expenses of the parish priest.
Each parish was controlled by a vestry of the local, wealthy landowners. Circa 1760 the geographical are that included our modern-day Christ, The Falls, Truro and Pohick churches was considered Fairfax County and Truro Parish. The vestry included some rather notable citizens: George Washington, George Mason, and George Fairfax.
It is important to stop here and note something important. There was no "Truro Church" in that time period, because a parish wasn't a church, but an administrative area.
Onward. Eventually the Truro vestry financed and commissioned four sturdy brick chapels in the parish, and it was during the time period that Fairfax Parish was carved from Truro Parish. The modern photo of Christ Church at the top of this post will show you their basic construction - just omit the bell tower. Two buildings eventually resided in Fairfax Parish (Alexandria/Christ Church, The Falls) and two in Truro (Pohick, Payne's). Three of these four buildings are still standing, with various additions additions and interior renovations: Pohick, Christ Church, and The Falls. Payne's Church was destroyed during the Civil War, and do note it was not on the property of the current Truro Church.
The story of how the former Church of England unraveled after the Revolutionary War is a sad one. Suffice to say the locals were happy to end taxation in support of the former state church, as many of them were active in other denominations. Chapels were deserted, the glebe farms were largely repossesed by the Commonwealth/state, and eventually in the northern part of the state there was but one active congregation: the chapel at Alexandria, Christ Church. This is where the vestry of Fairfax Parish consolidated and retreated, and helped the Episcopal Church in Virginia regain strength and develop self-supporting churches. On a "wing and a prayer," Virginia and Christ Church held together for the generation of William Meade.
You will read much about the vestry of Christ Church being the legal "descendant" of the Truro Parish vestry and trustees. There are limits to this and it is only acurate for the part of Truro that became Fairfax Parish. The Truro Parish vestry handled the purchase of land for what we know as the historic chapel of The Falls Church. By 1765 The Falls chapel was in Fairfax Parish, and that is the line and link that was presented to the U.S. Supreme Court in the 19th century, and the Fairfax courts today.
Please note that this is a history of the legal, trustee (vestry) relationship of what was Fairfax Parish, including The Falls Church and Christ Church. It is not a history of those that worshiped there, because individual chapels did not elect vestries. I have not addressed what happened in the rebuilding of the Church, or what happened to the land deeds for the Fairfax Parish chapels and glebe farms. I have omitted large time periods to pare this down, and it is still rather long.
We all need to absorb this background before making any sense of what is happening the the Virginia courts now. Briefer reviews distort history, and make the idea of Christ Church, Alexandria "owning" part of The Falls property seem rather incredulous. Some people even speculate that the current vestry of Truro Church might have trustee powers over the land that includes the original chapels of Christ Church, The Falls Church, and Pohick Church - just because of the name "Truro."
I certainly invite questions and comments, and promise to pick up the trail. Meanwhile, I want to remind all who maintain their loyalty to the Episcopal Church that Christ Church was never one of the parishes that was considered a likely candidate for separation to CANA. The members of Christ Church had a lengthy period of full, open discussion about the consecration of Bishop Robinson - and indeed all LGBT individuals in leadership positions - including a review of relevant scripture. This is well-documented in parish publications, and the congregation is generally well-heeled, highly educated and opinionated. The idea that we are lackeys of Bishop Peter Lee is rather laughable. Yes, I said "we;" I am a member of Christ Church, Alexandria, and a native of the Washington, DC area - a child of the Diocese of Washington, baptized and confirmed. I have written this from extensive (though amateur) research, and a lifetime of knowledge of our metro area. As they say...beware of impostors!
And please pray for us tomorrow morning at 10:15 a.m. as the congregation discusses and votes on the request of the Diocese to cede a quitclaim to The Falls deed. Our involvement in the lawsuits has been because of a fluke of history, and has brought heavy hearts indeed.
Update 10/19/2008: Sorry, I omitted my reference list for those who want to do some additional reading on this topic.
Slaughter, Philip: The History of Truro Parish in Virginia, (Originally published in 1907, reprinted with notes and introduction by Edward L. Goodwin in 2003 by Clearfield Company in 2003.)
Reports and Cases Adjudged in the Supreme Court of the United States, February Term, 1824. See Mason vs. Muncaster.
Holmes, David L.: A Brief History of the Episcopal Church, Trinity Press International, 1993.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Conservative Anglican Archbishop Peter Akinola of the Church of Nigeria criticized civil liberty organizations, especially those in the United States, for promoting a godless society through the removal of religious references in public.
Akinola, better known for his conservative leadership in the Anglican schism, noted that historic Christian symbols and phrases have been increasingly removed in American society, such as replacing "Merry Christmas" with "Seasons Greetings" on printed materials.
"[T]he founding fathers of the United States of America inserted 'In God we trust' in their coins but modern anti-Christ agents, in the name of civil liberties, are hell bent to erase God not only from the America currency, but also from the entire public domain including schools," he said, according to the Daily Trust newspaper in the capital city Abuja, Nigeria.
He described such actions as the “agents of anti-Christ determined to destroy Christianity.”
Avoiding the issue of history and the ability to read and understand history -- at least U.S. history -- let's just say that when ++Akinola stops promoting hatred and bigotry and when ++Akinola becomes one of those that promotes a chruch that is ope nto everyone and when ++Akinola has become serious about fixing the problems in his own country -- then we can sit down at talk about what is or is not right about the U.S.
Friday, October 10, 2008
Hot off the press comes this newsflash:
Pittsburgh, PA – Today the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church recognized a local group committed to the U.S. church as the legitimate Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh.
The recognition by Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori came in the form of accepting a new Standing Committee as the governing body of the diocese that remained after former leaders voted to leave the church on October 4th.
“I do recognize the Rev. James Simons and the two people he appointed as the rightful Standing Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh,” Jefferts Schori wrote in an e-mail to the Rev. Simons, the only remaining member of the Standing Committee and the one responsible for reorganizing a diocese within the Episcopal Church.
Now the hard work begins. Believe it or not the flash and the glamor is over. The work of building a diocese that is all inclusive, that truly subscribes to the three-legged stool concept begins anew. Unlike San Joaquin, which is now working on bringing and keeping the conservatives of the diocese in the diocese and providing/keeping their voice active you guys seem to have that section under control. Looks like you will need to figure out how to bring in the liberal less-orthodox members of the diocese and give them and/or have them keep their voice. Perhaps together - via long distance/internet we can work together to make these things happen. For better or worse we will become the backbone of the Episcopal Church. We may be the last best hope to have this church we so dearly love be renewed and reinvigorated and reopened to be the "big tent" all -inclusive Church this was always meant to be!
May the peace of God which passes all understanding keep the members of the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh in the knowledge and love of God.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
33 Hear another parable: There was a man that was a householder, who planted a vineyard, and set a hedge about it, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into another country.
34 And when the season of the fruits drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, to receive his fruits.
35 And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another.
36 Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them in like manner.
37 But afterward he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son.
38 But the husbandmen, when they saw the son, said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and take his inheritance.
39 And they took him, and cast him forth out of the vineyard, and killed him.
40 When therefore the lord of the vineyard shall come, what will he do unto those husbandmen?
This may sound vaguely familiar -- well it is, it is the gospel from last Sunday. There are probably about a million homily/sermons/directions/discussions one can take from this parable. It seems to me that many of the husbandmen, Peter Jensen, Peter Akinola, Greg Venables, Henry Luke Orambi, Robert Duncan, John David Mercer Schofield, to name a few have decided that the harvest is ripe and they want it for themselves. Over the last few years they have captured many of the workers for themselves and have taken much of the fruit. It is as if we are in the middle of this parable and how I fear for the son of the owner, except in our case he has not come yet -- but is on his way. When he arrives, if we have not somehow changed these husbandmen (and others like them) the safety of the son is at grave risk! Those of us in TEC who have seen the results of the husbandmen in the vineyard to date (e.g., hatred of women, persecution of LGBT), have a responsibility to rid our vineyard of these evildoers -- we must find a way soon for if we do not-- when the son comes he will surely be killed!
Saturday, October 4, 2008
Thursday, October 2, 2008
This strange twist in the CANA/DioVA lawsuit might not be as far-fetched as it seems. The former Church of England in Virginia was in shambles after the Revolutionary War, and the local landed gentry essentially agreed to consolidate their support to one single chapel: Christ Church, Alexandria.
It seems almost incredible that Christ Church didn't transfer the land title to The Falls at some point. But I can see a scenario where the Christ Church vestry planned to keep the title until the revitalized Falls Church stabilized, and then the Civil War caused another round of chaos and lost records.
Historic Christ Church, Alexandria, is very much an Episcopal Church. While considered liberal by the fundamentalist right, there are many conservative members and some are powerful in the local and national arenas. If the title belongs to the parish, it is a rather delicious turn of events.
(For a little background on the post-Revolutionary church in Virginia, I recommend Joan Gunderson's article, How "Historic are Truro Church and The Falls Church? with a hat tip to Daveed, he lead me to this article a few months back. Dr. Gunderson includes excellent references for further study if you are so inclined).
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
It is now time to again state the obvious. Many in the recently founded "alphabet soup" groups and in the Southern Cone seem to have attempted to abscond with the Bible. One can hardly read an article written by a Bishop of ________ (fill in the blank) Minns, Venables, Guernsey, Akinola, Jensen, Orambi, or whoever and not read that they have claimed the Bible is theirs and theirs alone. The rest of us can or are on the road to perdition. They tend to point to the old testament and skip lightly through the new as they tell us how great they are, how erroneous our interpretation is and how much we have strayed from the "teachings of the Bible".
Let me say this about that: "Stick a fork in that nonsense because it is done!"This book you call a teaching tool is not that at all. Rather, it is God's Love Poem written specifically to me. It is my God telling me how much I am loved. But it is also more than that. It has places where I can respond to God with my imperfect love made acceptable through Jesus Christ. It has room for me to add my spouse and for all of us to grow in this relationship as we read and discover more about God. It encourages my response, it guides my response and it straightens my path from time to time but it always envelopes me with love -- actually mercy/compassion.
One of the truly amazing things about this love poem is that while it is written to me it is also your love poem, God writing to you. The one thing it is not -- it cannot be claimed by one group or one person only. It is not just JI Packer's or Peter Akinola's or Mr. John David Mercer Schofield's. These people, these groups, these nickers may not steal off with the silver, the property and they may not steal my love poem!